Thursday, July 24, 2008

An intuitive "sense of the world"?

Political commentators speak of Barak Obama’s “intuitive sense of the world” and that his “personal identity” is more important than “experience and expertise”. This relates to his "global mindset": according to the Boston Globe his biography is extraordinary: “he is the biracial son of a father from Kenya and a mother who had him at 18; that he was raised in the dynamic, multi-ethnic cultures of Hawaii and Indonesia; that he went from being president of the Harvard Law Review to the gritty and often thankless work of community organizing in Chicago; that, at 46, he would be the first post-baby-boom president”. He has engaged in "a search for identity" and taken "a roots pilgrimage to Kenya,"These comments lead me to investigate the extent of Obama’s experience with foreign cultures. Obviously, orchestrated political visits do not always contribute much to knowledge of cultural differences. However, since 2005 Obama seems to have visited the following countries: Moscow, Kiev, Baku, Azerbaijan, Qatar, Kuwait, Iraq, Jordan, Israel, South Africa, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, Djibouti, and Chad.I am somewhat surprised to see that he has not been to Europe or to Latin America. It seems to me that in order to be a leader on today's world stage one would need the robust quality of "global effectiveness" which unfortunately, is so often lacking in our political leaders.

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